Ayad Rahim on the Syrian-trained headchoppers

Ayad Rahim opened today’s Dennis Prager Show with a report from Iraq on Syria’s involvement in the training of jihadist headchopping savages who later terrorized Baghdad and Fallujah.

Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.
He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.
Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.

More at Instapundit.

Rafael Peralta: a good Marine

By all rights, we should know Rafael Peralta’s name. The man died a bona fide hero during the Battle of Fallujah. Here’s an excerpt from Rich Lowry’s column on the sergeant:

Sgt. Peralta, 25, was a Mexican American. He joined the Marines the day after he got his green card and earned his citizenship while in uniform. He was fiercely loyal to the ethos of the Corps. While in Kuwait, waiting to go into Iraq, he had his camouflage uniform sent out to be pressed. He constantly looked for opportunities to help his Marine brothers, which is why he ended up where he was on Nov. 15. A week into the battle for Fallujah, the Marines were still doing the deadly work of clearing the city, house by house. As a platoon scout, Peralta didn’t have to go out with the assault team that day. He volunteered to go.
Eagle, globe and anchorAccording to Kaemmerer, the Marines entered a house and kicked in the doors of two rooms that proved empty. But there was another closed door to an adjoining room. It was unlocked, and Peralta, in the lead, opened it. He was immediately hit with AK-47 fire in his face and upper torso by three insurgents. He fell out of the way into one of the cleared rooms to give his fellow Marines a clear shot at the enemy. During the firefight, a yellow fragmentation grenade flew out of the room, landing near Peralta and several fellow Marines. The uninjured Marines tried to scatter out of the way, two of them trying to escape the room, but were blocked by a locked door. At that point, barely alive, Peralta grabbed the grenade and cradled it to his body.
His body took most of the blast. One Marine was seriously injured, but the rest sustained only minor shrapnel wounds. Cpl. Brannon Dyer told a reporter from the Army Times, “He saved half my fire team.”

Semper Fi, Sergeant Peralta. You were a good Marine.

An e-mail from Fallujah

Lt Col Dave Bellon sent another e-mail to his folks from Fallujah, dated November 19th. It relates some of what he saw in the battle there, and includes some photographs.

Immediately following 3/5’s attack on the apartment buildings, 3/1 took the train station on the north end of the city. While the engineers blew a breach through the train trestle, the Cavalry soldiers poured through with their tanks and Bradley’s and chewed an opening in the enemy defense. 3/1 followed them through until they reached a phase line deep into the northern half of the city. The Marine infantry along with a few tanks then turned to the right and attacked the heart of the enemy defense. The fighting was tough as the enemy had the area dialed in with mortars. 3/5 then attacked into the northwest corner of the city. This fight continued as both Marine rifle battalions clawed their way into the city on different axis.
There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.
The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.

Read the whole thing at The Green Side.
As always, you can get your Fallujah data dump at The Adventures of Chester, Winds of Change, and here.

Good news from Fallujah

I saw this photograph earlier today on USAToday.com

Sacked out

… and I realized that there’s no way I could imagine how good these guys must have felt to sleep on a mattress with a pillow. Then I read an e-mail sent to Rich Lowry at National Review Online:

I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle began. He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I’ve yet to see a report in the media of this. Imagine that.
Additionally, he said their spirits are high, but they would certainly appreciate any “care packages” that folks in the States would care to send their way (preferably consisting of non-perishable food items, candy, deodorant, eye-drops, q-tips, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lip balm, hand/feet warmers, black/dark undershirts, underwear & socks, and non-aerosol bug spray).

Amazing. If you want to send stuff to the troops, click here.
I’m thankful for every single one of our troops. Godspeed, folks.

Marine shoots wounded(?) terrorist

NBC correspondent Kevin Sites, embedded with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, videotaped a Marine on Saturday shooting an apparently wounded and unarmed terrorist in a Fallujah mosque.

On the video, as the camera moved into the mosque during the Saturday incident, a Marine can be heard shouting obscenities in the background, yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead.
The video then showed a Marine raising his rifle toward a prisoner lying on the floor of the mosque. The video shown by NBC and provided to the network pool was blacked out at that point and did not show the bullet hitting the man. But a rifle shot could be heard.
The blacked out portion of the video tape, provided later to Associated Press Television News and other members of the network pool, showed the bullet striking the man in the upper body, possibly the head. His blood splatters on the wall behind him and his body goes limp.
Sites reported a Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent.

Here’s Sites’ description.
The Marine in question stands accused of violating the rules of engagement, and has been removed from the front pending an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Before we all rush to judgment, let’s calm down a little bit. This is a combat zone we’re talking about, and a very dirty one at that. Keep in mind that our side isn’t the bunch that decapitates hostages, targets civilians, fakes white flags, and lures the opposition in with fake wounded. There could very well be a satisfactory explanation tht mitigates what seems (at first glance) to be a war crime. Give the NCIS time.
Not everything, including this …

Colonel Loan executes a VC prisoner

… is what it seems.
More blogging:
Winds of Change
Wizbang
Right On Red
Blogs of War
Armies of Liberation
InTheBullpen.com
Conservative Revolution
ISOU
Say Anything
The Shape of Days
PoliPundit
Ace of Spades
American Soldier

UPDATE: More on treatment of enemy wounded in Fallujah, courtesy of The Command Post. Also, see cameraman Kevin Sites’ blog.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Semper Fidelis!

In the middle of the Battle of Fallujah, the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday. You’ve gotta love those folks. Happy 229th!

Marine Verse to The Navy Hymn

Eternal Father, grant , we pray,
To all Marines, both night and day,
The courage, honor, strength and skill
Their land to serve, Thy law fulfill;
Be Thou the Shield forevermore
From ev’ry peril to the Corps.

Go get ’em, Marines!

Battle of Fallujah round-up

Our troops are advancing faster than we’d planned, killing more of the enemy than we’d expected, losing fewer of ours than we’d feared, and might be wrapping up Fallujah more swiftly than we’d dreamed.
To sift through what bits of information manage to leak out of Fallujah, read The Command Post.
If liveblogging with on-the-fly analysis is your bag, then The Adventures of Chester is your one-stop shop.
The Belmont Club pulls some loose threads together to make educated guesses about the unfolding battle.
Want maps and satellite photos? Two words: Carnivorous Conservative.
For your inspiration, Blackfive has video of Marines singing in Fallujah.
And please … say a prayer today, OK? Froggy Ruminations has an appropriate one.